Fly Casting Definitions, Glossary & Terminology

Fly Casting Definitions, Glossary & Terminology

Fly Casting Definitions, Glossary & Terminology

Fly casting definitions, glossary & terminology has lagged well behind since the inception of the sport. The trend here in the U.S. is to classify all three-dimensional casts (3D casts) — constant tension casts, live-line cast, and others — as Spey casts. I believe this is a mistake that will affect the next generation of anglers globally.

I think it is essential that fly casting and fly fishing organizations break away from this two-dimensional fly casting ideology because it is very limiting on the water (as well as in teaching.)

Below is a list of casting definitions that I began compiling in the 1990’s, when I organized the text for my book, Casting Angles. I find them useful in discussion complex casting terms and ideas. These fly casting definitions are designed for casting geeks and instructors who actively teach fly casting. They are not set in stone. Over the years I have modified many of the terms I use when teaching and I am always looking for better ones. The terms below have served me well for my personal learning curve and they have helped me explain myself both to students and other instructors.


Fly Casting Definitions, Glossary & Terminology by Mac Brown

Fly casting definitions, glossary & terminology is an ongoing project and subject to change and amendment. I believe they can be used to teach all styles of casting and that they provide sufficient information to assist instructors in discussions of the mechanics of specialty casts. When teaching, we often have revelations that move us through dimensional leaps of faith into new discoveries. When we can get a global recognition of terms commonly used in the sport, it will no doubt be much easier for instructors to discuss the details of the cast.

I realize that these definitions will be of limited use to new and early intermediate casters, but the ‘casting geek lingo’ is helpful for instructors and educators of fly fishing. There has been so much written about the straight-line casting stroke that in some ways I feel this has helped cause stagnation in the casting public. You cannot use two-dimensional terms and models and apply it to the real world of fishing casts (regardless of single or double-handed rods).

It is my sincere hope that something in these terms will cause curiosity to increase with your own casting and or teaching. The key is all about your journey, not the destination!

With that in mind, here are the fly casting definitions, glossary & terminology I’ve compiled in hopes they will be found useful by instructors and anglers. I am humbled that so many terms have been adopted by the leading casting organizations globally– Mac Brown


Fly Casting Terms

180 Degree Principle

The aerial back cast or D-loop is made in a straight line exactly 180 degrees opposite from the target. Useful for straight line casts for distance and accuracy.


The rate of increase or decrease in velocity, magnitude, or direction.

Active Presentations

A presentation when the fly moves at a different rate from the current in which it travels so the angler may represent the food organism’s behavior. Active presentations impart an erratic change of direction, magnitude, and velocity to the selected imitation that closely mimics the natural organism’s state of being.

Anatomical Advantages

Diagnosing the weaknesses and strengths of the body parts and how they apply to the mechanics of the casting stroke. Many casting styles make use of various individual physiques. It is for this reason that no two casters will ever fly cast identical.

Anatomical Position

The position of your body when standing upright with your arms at your side, while your palms face toward the same direction as your body.


The anchor is typically the fly, leader, and a tip section of line that is positioned close to the caster (often a rod length away and in line with D loop and forward cast) prior to delivery. The shorter cast uses less anchor and a long cast uses more line for the anchor.

Angular Thrust

The casting stroke is a combination of the whole body involved in applying force to the rod. However, all casts involve using one or more combination of six different wrist positions (see directly below).

Angular Linear Thrust

A concept for describing the rod hand always remaining parallel with the forearm. The basic vertical foundation cast (most commonly taught) is an example of angular linear thrust. The motion includes usually either wrist abduction or adduction.

Angular Perpendicular Thrust

A concept for describing the rod hand’s perpendicular relationship to the forearm. It encompasses both wrist extension and flexion. This is often performed toward the completion of the casting stroke and line manipulation.

Angular Rotational Thrust

The circular motion applied from the forearm during the cast or mend. The motion is performed by varying the thrust force in which the forearm rotates (pronates or supinates) clockwise or counterclockwise.

Back Cast

A description that usually has the fly line cast opposite of the target area. It changes as well to other directions depending on obstacles, the wind, or other change of direction fly line setups.

Bag of Tricks

The complete knowledge of understanding and ability to master several varieties of casts which aid the angler in challenging scenarios. It includes the full spectrum of control and force used for fishing casts.

Bob Fly

Bob fly is the top dropper of the leader toward the fly rod.

Body Plane

The body plane refers to the positioning of where the rod and line are used while performing casts. The positioning around the caster will be a measurement of degrees always in a clockwise direction with 0° always directly in front of the caster (see also on–side and off–side).


The projectile loop motion of line created by varying the amount of force during the stroke that is applied to the rod by the caster. This dynamic motion propels the fly line, leader, and fly to a specific position on the water.

Cast of Flies

The cast of flies refers to the rigging and placement of the droppers and point fly on the leader.

Casting Analyzer

A tool invented by Noel Perkins and Bruce Richards used for looking at the smoothness of applied force during the casting stroke. It also measures the symmetry of the back and forward casts for casts that are translatory. It also contains data of elite casters to compare your application of power with many of the greats.

Casting Arc

The angle of rotational change of the rod when making the casting stroke (also Casting angle).  For many years arc is depicted as clock face positions.

Casting Cycle

The complete motion of implementing two casting strokes. Usually, this is a back and forward cast. It could also mean two back or two forward cast. Casting cycle varies according to tempo for dealing with obstacles.

Casting Mechanics

A study of force and motion during and after the casting stroke. The force and motion are so completely interrelated (like braids of a rope) that neither can be defined independently from the other.

Casting Planes

Fly casting planes include all of the various airspaces the rod and line are worked through a three–dimensional space around the caster’s body (see rod, loop, and line planes).

Casting Stroke

When the angler applies force to the rod to form a loop of line. This includes hand path and casting arc.

Closed Loop

Refers to a loop in which the fly leg crosses the rod leg during the cast (also called a tailing loop).

Complete System Forces

A concept for viewing all of the internal and external systems in unison (big picture), and the relationship of the interaction of forces present on the objects of the system.

Concave Rod Tip Path

A U-shaped rod tip path where the rod tip falls below then rises above the effective straight line path (SLP) of the rod tip.  Maybe problematic for causing a higher chance for tailing loops (depending on the application of power). Most common cause for this shape is applying force to the rod too abruptly or too early in the casting stroke.

Conservation of Energy

The sum of the potential and kinetic energy within the system remains constant for the complete system. The gain of kinetic energy must equal the loss of potential energy in any process of the system.


The intended application or lack of force to achieve the desired line layout. A full range of control includes the concept of application of negative force, normal force, and positive force, as well as the usage of all rod and loop planes. A higher understanding of line tension.


When the rod springs down at the completion of casting stroke (after RSP) toward the direction of the unrolling loop.

Coupled Plane Pendula

A series of three or more hinges that perform a motion. This concept is useful for understanding how body hinges of the caster may apply force to the casting stroke for either translatory or rotary motion. It can also be used to describe the fly line loop unrolling during the fly cast. The line is cast through a specific plane and is coupled together with a series of frictionless hinges.

Convex Rod Tip Path

A domed shape rod tip path (windshield-wiper like rod path in extreme cases) that may result in larger loops. Negative casts (also called underpowered casts) often use a convex rod tip path for controlling large fly loops for curves.


An ill-timed (too early) forward drift movement of little power to the rod in the direction of the next casting stroke that reduces available casting arc and/or casting stroke. Creep is often labeled as a fault and is usually (but not always) unintentional for many casters. Creep typically increases the tension of the rod leg.

D Loop

The D-loop is a loop of line that forms behind the rod tip and it can be either dynamic or static. Usually, Spey casts make use of a dynamic D loop. A basic roll cast often uses a static D loop.


a). A term that refers to how quickly a rod recovers to a resting position at the end of rod motion. b). Also used to describe the relaxing on the grip of the rod butt after the stop to minimize rod tip oscillations.


The line’s position prior to the cast that is usually downstream of the caster.

Delivery Cast

The final cast that delivers the fly, leader, and line to a specific location.

Direction Altered Cast

A casting stroke in which the forward or backward cast does not end up in the same plane from which it started.


A fishing boat that has been around for centuries with simple lines and easy to build. A Dory is usually 16-24 feet in length and uses oars with oar locks to row.

Double Haul

A line acceleration (exponential) technique that increases rod load, tip speed, and line speed. It encompasses a haul (a pull on the fly line at the proper time by the line hand) on both the back and forward cast. Aids in keeping the rod tip straighter for a longer period.

Double Taper Line

A line that is tapered on each end and is uniform throughout the remaining length.

Downstream Wind

The wind that blows downstream.


a).The fly moving at a speed other than the current’s speed in which it is traveling.

b). Rod translation during the early part of casting stroke that helps build momentum to the direction of the cast. It can be used to increase tension, take up the unwanted slack, delay rotation, or assist casting stroke by starting to overcome fly line inertia. This has been called pull as well with some casting groups (see “Slide” also).

c). Casting geeks also refer to air/water friction on the coatings of fly lines.


a). Refers to the amount of drag implemented on the fly (sometimes called float).

b). A supplementary motion that takes place during the pause of the stroke for repositioning the rod. Drift also offers an advantageous position for shooting line at the completion of the casting stroke. An upward drift toward the unrolling line can also be an advantage for opening up the casting stroke and arc angle and makes it easier for shooting line due to rod position.

Effective Rod Length

Refers to the distance from the tip of the rod to the butt of the rod. Useful when looking at video analysis since the rod is bent when performing casts. The shorter the distance of (ERL) equates to maximum load.


A concept for the capacity of an object to perform work. Examples include potential and kinetic.

Enlightenment Casts

Creative and imaginative uses of various actions when performing the casting stroke. To gain an understanding of the full comprehension of the problems involved and their solutions on the stream.

External System Forces

A concept used for describing forces exerted to the objects of the internal system. Examples include gravity, surface friction of water, the wind, diverse currents, obstacles surrounding the caster, and more.

False Casts

To implement multiple casting strokes without allowing the line to fall to the water or ground level.

Feed Lane

An area where food organisms are heavily concentrated in the water current.

Fly Leg

The part of the unrolling loop that contains the fly end to the center of the axis of the unrolling loop (accelerating part of the loop).

Fly Line

One of the most important pieces of equipment used in fly fishing for making fly cast. The line is the weight or the connection used for making fly cast in fly fishing. The distribution of how the weight is placed in the fly line coating creates many applications for a wide variety of specialty setups used in fly casting today.

Fly Rod

A long flexible (lever) fishing rod used in fly fishing and fly casting. A poets definition may read something like an antenna which transmits peace, tranquility, excitement, fellowship, sharing techniques and most of, an awareness and appreciation for the outdoors. Check out choosing a fly rod article.

Forced Turnover

A teaching concept that came from the Golden Gate Club that implies the rod butt is rotated early in the casting stroke.

Follow Through

To move the rod in the direction of the unrolling loop. It can accomplish easier line shoots as well as by extending the overall distance of the haul. Follow-through may be either a form of drift or casting stroke.

Forearm Pronation

The rotation of the forearm in back from the anatomical position.

Forearm Supination

The rotation of the forearm in front when the palm faces opposite of the anatomical position.

Forward Cast

A cast that usually travels in front of the caster, but the direction is often, but not limited to, a position in front of the caster.


a). The handle of the rod usually made of cork where the angler pilots the rod. b). Many various grips used to hold the rod depending on what you are attempting to accomplish.

Hand-Rod Path

A concept used for describing the path and distance that the rod hand follows when performing the cast. These paths include simple geometric patterns such as straight lines, circular, elliptical, triangular, and smooth curves.


A technique used in lake fishing where the leader is suspended to hang approximately 24′-30′ feet away from the dory after the flies have been retrieved. The fish in the lake often follow the cast of flies and hesitate for the strike. This method is very productive on lochs at times.


A quick tug on the fly line with the line hand usually performed during the last half of casting stroke (used also with various timings for specialty casts).


The fly pattern (also called the artificial or fly) attached to the end of the tippet. These typically include wets, nymphs, dries, and streamers.


A property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force.

Initial Rod Velocity

Refers to the velocity at which the rod begins the casting stroke.

Internal System Forces

The interaction of the mechanics of the objects within the system and the relationships they exert on one another. The internal system includes all components of the caster and the equipment used in performing the cast.


a) The rate of change of acceleration.

b) An obnoxious person that cuts you off from your fishing hole (high holes you every time), skips rocks near where you are fishing or litters the surroundings of fish habitat!


The abrupt, rapid or sudden turnover of a fly, leader, or fly line at the end of the loop becoming straight.  Can be caused by overpowering a cast, having too much weight at end of the leader, or by having no leader or a shortened leader. Positive casts make use of kick for driving a nymph down vertically into the water or when making curve casts.

Latent Rod Force

The slight potential energy (spring) of the rod when casting.


A concept used for measuring the displacement (initial positioning) of the imitation, the leader, and fly line following the casting stroke.

Level Line

A fly line that is a consistent diameter throughout its length (no taper).


A vertical form of sweep to lift the line from the water prior to the next line positioning move or casting stroke.

Line Hand

The hand that controls the fly line between the reel and the stripping eyelet. Example, if you cast holding the rod with your right hand, then your left hand is also called the line hand.

Line-Pull Cast

All casts that implement a haul after the stop of the rod has occurred for controlling the layout. This increases tension on the rod leg and causes the fly leg to turnover quicker.

Line Velocity (Average)

A measurement of the displacement of the fly line divided by the time which it traveled.

Line Plane

The angle created by the fly line in relation to the surface of water or ground.

Line Speed

The average speed of the unrolling fly line. The fly line unrolling can be expressed as Ls=1/2 (Lr+Lf). Lr is the rod leg of the loop while Lf is the fly leg of the loop.


To cause the rod to flex when moving the rod during the casting stroke. The resistance of the line weight and increasing momentum against the rod, usually when the line straightens or another similar tension is applied to the line.

Loading Move

The progressive buildup of forces applied to the rod that takes place after the initial velocity and before the stop of the stroke.


A moving length of line past the rod tip where there is a distinct rod/fly leg. Takes on a candy-cane appearance for the unrolling portion of the fly line. Loop formation always has two strands of the line (rod and fly leg), that either may or may not run parallel to one another dependent on the translation or rotary hand/rod paths.

Loop Morph

The loop is always changing shape and size during flight depending on overall velocity, tension, mass displacement of the line, and transverse waves put there by the caster.

Loop Plane

Measurement of angles from the perspective of the caster used for determining the relative position of the fly leg in relation to the rod leg during loop travel. The loop plane is zero-degrees at vertical and is measured clockwise 360 degrees. Controlling loop planes often have hand-paths that deviate from straight (typically curved hand paths during the casting stroke). Learn to control loop planes on top, below, away, and toward the caster when using the same rod plane. This enables you to throw many curves, piles, and tuck casts for presentations. Loop plane is determined by the curvature or straight hand paths of the rod when making a stroke.

Loop Shape

Loops have many different shapes that indicate what has happened during the casting stroke. The shapes themselves tell us many things about the overall tempo and sizes of the loop. In general, think of the fly leg of the loop as a mirror image of the rod tip path.

Major Drag

The fly dragging at a different speed from the currents, due to the whole leader tensioning the fly.

Maximum Rod Load

When the rod is bent (loaded) the deepest when performing the overall cast, sweep, mend, and other dynamic line positioning techniques. Usually, maximum rod load is close to equaling maximum fly line acceleration.

Maximum Rod Flex (MRF)

The increased force that the rod possesses when it is flexed to near its elastic limit. Longer hand–rod paths, hauling techniques, increased rod arc, rod planes, body planes, equipment used, and optimal load placement (line planes) all influence the maximum rod flex.


A form of sweep used for manipulating the fly line in air or water that usually creates slack or removes slack in order to achieve the desired result with line layout. Used for placement of line position that typically takes place after RSP.

Micro Drag

The fly dragging at a minute different speed and direction from the currents because the tippet of the leader has increased tension (also called hidden drag).


Measures the resistance of a material to elastic deformation under load. Fly rods resistance to bending (stiffness) while performing the cast (load).


The measure of motion for a property of matter that relates the line’s mass and its velocity.

Narrow Loop

A loop typically with the distance between the fly/rod leg of less than two feet (since the loop is changing this is just a rough average).

Negative Force

A reduction of the net forces applied throughout the stroke by either releasing slack into the internal system or decreasing the amount of force from the rod hand toward the end of the casting stroke. The loop never turning over through infinite casting planes is characteristic of negative force casts.

Non-Parallel Loop

See “open loop”.

Normal Force

The minimal amount of net forces required for performing the cast which attains a complete turnover of the loop through infinite casting planes (the fly line should be a straight layout).


The side of the body where the hand holds the line. Off-side includes everything from the ground to the caster’s center of the axis.


The side of the body where the hand pilots the rod. Example, a right-handed caster’s on–side includes all casting planes from the caster’s center of the axis to ground level on the right (note: this angle is greater than ninety-degrees).

Open Loop

A concept used for describing the appearance of position and large displacement between the fly/rod legs of the loop (also called a curved line or non-parallel loop).  This is a casting fault if the caster attempts a translatory hand-rod path. It is normal for rotary hand-rod paths to use an open loop (most negative force casts).

Optimal Line Length

A distance of fly line the caster has the ability and skill level to control when making the cast. To find your optimal line limit, perform several false casts and find the line distance that you can control with confidence. Measure this distance of line and divide the total by the length of the rod used. Beginners may find it practical to mark this point with a permanent marker or attach a nail knot for a reference when performing the cast.

Optimal Load Placement

The placement of fly line on the back cast which distributes the line’s weight most efficiently for bending the rod deep on the forward cast. This placement is critical for allowing the rod to perform more of the work during the cast.

Optimal Reach

A measurement of distance for the path in which the rod hand may travel. Mark a dot on an object to the rear and another far in front for finding your optimal reach distance.


The amount of running or shooting line between the tip–top and the rear taper of the shooting head or weight–forward line.

Parallel Loop Legs

Refers to the displacement of the fly and rod legs of the loop remaining parallel. Useful for accuracy and distance casting (highly efficient for loop propagation).

Passive Presentation

Presentations where the fly moves at the same rate as the current in which it travels so the angler may represent the insect in a natural manner.


The time period between accents of applied force to the rod. Many claim pause for casting strokes for (PU&LD), but we have slight pauses for lift, sweep, circle casts, figure eight, etc… (see also rhythm, timing, tempo, and syncopation).

Perpendicular Rod

The rod’s position at the completion of the casting stroke which remains close to ninety-degrees in relationship to the target. This position enables the rod to become an action on altering the tension throughout the line due to rebound (common with positive casts).


A form of drift to slowly lift the line from the water before starting the casting stroke.

Pop and Stop

A concept used to describe the amount of force applied to the rod and when it stops during the casting stroke (like paint being flicked from a brush). Has also been called the speed up and stop, power snap, speed move, power stroke, flicking motion, positive stop, and others through various casting circles.

Positive Force

An increase of the net forces applied throughout the stroke and the loop always travels back around to the opposite direction of loop plane in which it was created. Used for positioning angles in the relationship of fly, leader, and fly line (control). Use of greater force than needed for a normal force cast.  Characteristics of positive force cast make use of a narrow loop that travels fast.


How one presents himself, the cast, the imitation, stealth tactics, equipment choices; your cumulative knowledge of the complete system for the deception of the fish.

Prime Lies

An area in the stream that offers fish food and shelter from predators.

Pulling the rod through

A teaching concept that came from the Golden Gate Club that implies the rod butt rotates very late in the casting stroke.


Refers to the rod bouncing back after counterflex (at the completion of adding force to the rod with examples of casting stroke, sweep, mend, etc…).


Any method which pulls the fly line in through the guides while fishing for controlling the amount of line outside and away from the tip-top.

Reverse Thrust

Any force which is straight away and in the opposite direction of fly line travel upon the completion of the stroke. Examples include pulling the line, backing the rod up, or perpendicular rod positioning (latent rod force) as soon as the abrupt stop occurs.


The movement or fluctuation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related objects to the system. The pace of a singular movement during the cast (line positioning sweep or casting stroke). Used to describe applied force during rod motion.  Syncopation, timing, and tempo are a few examples that are encompassed by rhythm. A Very important concept for any fly casting model for dealing with teaching advanced casts or line manipulations.

River Left

Is the left bank of the river when facing downstream. This is actually a boating definition that is useful for painting word pictures.

River Right

Is the right bank of the river when facing downstream.

Rod Action

A concept used to describe the features of the rod pertaining to where and how the rod bends when put into motion under load. Characteristics of rod action include but are not limited to frequency, stiffness, sensitivity, distribution of mass, dampening, and much more!

Rod Arc

The angle of change when making the casting stroke (also called casting arc).

Rod Fade

A movement of the rod at the completion of the casting stroke downward toward the water or ground. Used to relieve tension in the rod leg and typically gain greater control over negative force casts.

Rod Hand

The hand which pilots (grips) the fly rod while performing the cast.

Rod Leg

The portion of a fly line that runs from the center of the axis of the loop to the rod tip.

Rod Plane

A concept used for describing the rod position during the casting stroke. It is a measurement of angles with zero-degrees directly vertical and plus or minus ninety-degrees parallel with the ground or water.

Rod Pointing

On the final delivery cast, the rod is pointed directly toward the target. Pointing the rod is often used while casting in the horizontal casting plane or when applying angular thrust to the cast.

RSP (Rod Straight Position)

A concept of the rod being straight toward the completion of the casting stroke. Useful for video diagnostic of overall stroke.

Rod Wavering

The tip-top path of the rod moves away from the parallel reference plane throughout the stroke. The rod hand does not remain consistent for applying force in a straight line during the casting stroke. Rod wavering is used for describing faults in casts when the caster attempts to attain tracking with straight-line motion.

Roll Cast Pickup

A method of beginning the casting stroke in which the fly line becomes aerial to load the line in front and to break the surface tension bond of water. The pickup enables the casting cycle to be more efficient (shooting line on the pickup). The steps include a roll cast pickup, ONE backcast, and a delivery cast.

Rotary Motion

Motion occurring in a revolving manner which can be a fixed point, a point in translatory motion, or a point in rotary motion which may serve as the axis of rotation.

Running Line

The long thin section of fly line that extends from the rear taper of a weight-forward line to the back end of the line.

Shooting Head

A short heavy fly line which that may be tapered or level which is not attached to a conventional running line. The running section is usually made from braided monofilament as opposed to thin fly line.

Shooting Line

a).The thin running line attached to the rear of the shooting taper which is also called a running line.

b). The release of the additional line to be pulled through the guides by the unrolling loop when the rod has stopped. Shooting line relieves tension in the rod leg causing the fly leg to turn over slower. Late or early shoots are also common for various control casts (also called slip line techniques).

Single Haul

A method of accelerating the rod tip and line speed that uses a haul on either the forward cast or the backward cast, but not both. It is usually an accident on the backcast for beginner casters.

Six-Step Method

A simple diagnostics concept that was originated by Bruce Richards for fly casting. It works by observing the fault in this order line, rod, body, to slip in with the correction of the body, rod, line. The concept was used by high-level swimming coaches out of Australia in the 60’s. It is a brilliant teaching methodology. Once you get lots of teaching experience you can use this tactic to quickly make adjustments. The real art behind it in teaching is to solve a couple of things that solve many. Often times new instructors want to solve many things at once especially with new casters that have many faults. Often a few subtle suggestions lead to progress for the student much quicker.


Rod translation during an early part of casting stroke that does not alter tension when done correctly. When timed correctly, the rod hand and the line hand move back together (without rotation) hence no change in tension. This is what separates slide from drag (drag increases tension on the line). Both enable the caster to set up in a more comfortable or powerful position for rod rotation. Most styles that use drag also use slide first.

SLP (straight-line path)

A term used to describe the brief period of time that the rod tip is traveling in a straight line. Smooth acceleration of the casting stroke and hauling the line help to achieve longer SLP (useful for straight-line casting).

Snap Casts

A type of cast that propels the loop creation opposite the direction of acceleration. It is the inverse acceleration of typical casting strokes.


The butt of the rod stops to transfer the energy from the bend of the rod to the line leading to loop formation.

Spey Cast

A form of fly casting that takes advantage of a change of direction casts through roll casting that remains in constant tension (also called constant tension casting). The steps usually include a lift, sweep, followed by delivery.


The spline refers to the stiffer section usually on the back of the rod (usually opposite the guides).


The orientation of the caster’s body during the cast determined by the placement of the caster’s feet.

Stream Awareness

A concept that describes the anglers knowledge and understanding of the behavior, intricacies, and relationships of the stream flow and aquatic organisms and how they relate to the ecosystem. This is best developed through empirical lessons learned on the stream.

Stripping Eyelet

The largest guide on the rod that is also the first one from the grip.


The complete casting motion performed by the rod hand that includes only one backward or forward cast, depending on the perspective. The pause is characteristic of the completion of all strokes.


Includes form (such as hand, elbow, stance, etc…), descriptive word pictures for application of force or hauling, and many other unique methods used to achieve various loop shapes. It also includes one’s effectiveness to connect with others for communicating these topics in a fun non-boastful manner. Mel Krieger offered the concepts of substance and style. As the sport grows it is a bit easier for instructors and students to convey concepts if we keep these separate.


Includes the fundamentals of timing, mechanics, all of the specialty fishing casts nuances and many other key concepts. Sometimes there will be gray areas that have both style and substance. These examples are best stated by Mel Krieger when he said: “if you are very fortunate you will understand that the profound path towards teaching mastery gets two miles farther away for every mile you travel”.

Surface Tension

The relationship of intermolecular forces that exist at the surface of a liquid whose properties resemble those of an elastic skin under tension. This force acts heavily on the relationship of line on the water and emergence or egg-laying stages of insects.


A rod movement (action) to position the line for the following casting stroke.


Syncopation is used when stressing a force in a normally unstressed location or a lack of force when it is normally accented during rod movements. It really comes into play for elliptical 8’s, snaps, and oval casting (but is very common for many things dealing with rod motion).

System Response Curve

A concept used for understanding the relationship between force and control for varying rod planes. It can be used to measure the system efficiency for different casts.

Tailing Loop

Occurs when the fly leg crosses the rod leg and creates a closed-loop (see also closed loops and wind knots). It should be observed past halfway point in travel for the propagating loop (because many casts have crossover during the setup of roll cast, distance cast, and others-these are not tails in the early setup stages). Since the legs can cross once, twice, and more is the reason for quantifying 50% of loop travel. I have yet to see one tail right at the rod tip that disappears before the 50% rule in flight (because the traveling transverse wave propagates down the line to the end). While it is true that many tailing loops are usually a fault, they can also be useful presentation casts for curve cast.

There are many causes of tails but most of them stem from too early/abrupt application of force, line planes less than 180*, rod tip jumps above the oncoming lines path, improper haul timing, a transverse wave, and many others. The fly leg wrinkle is the key to seeing the problem and you can easily go back to the rod tip for the cause. The most common cause is the creation of transverse wave parallel with fly and rod leg of the loop.

Most literature has always blamed concavity of rod tip for the problem of the tail. Straight, however, is equally important as it also creates the same wave which may lead to the knot. One of the most misunderstood casting faults globally overall. The chaos of creating tailing loops is brought about from a jerk factor (abrupt change in the rate of acceleration). Embrace understanding why the line tails and you are well on your way to using the concept of waves for your presentation casts on the water.


The pace of the overall cast from start to finish. A beneficial concept to practice changes in tempo for dealing with fishing scenarios. As an example, a slow underpowered back cast static D loop followed by a normal forward cast for missing obstacles right at your back. Practical for distance casting in taking the tempo to the max for the amount of line carried.


The time period for each movement during the overall casting sequence.


Opposing forces that act on pulling the line apart. Make it a goal to really understand how your actions while making casts increase or decrease tension (very beneficial).

Three-Dimensional Casting Planes

A concept used for describing all of the airspace around the caster’s body which the fly line and rod may be used in performing casts.


The final guide at the tip of the rod.

Tip-Top Path

A concept used to describe the path that the tip–top of the rod scribes through the air when making casts.

Tip-Top Velocity

The velocity of the rod tip during the casting stroke.

Tip Travel

The total distance the rod tip moves when making a cast. This is the by-product of casting stroke and casting arc.


1) A term used to describe the rod tip traveling in a straight line with an outside to side wobble during the casting stroke (see also rod wavering).

2) A course or route traveled by the rod tip during the casting stroke (this used to describe more advanced casts that deviate from straight).

Translatory Motion

A concept used to describe motion occurring in a straight line.

Transverse Wave

A transverse wave is a moving wave that consists of oscillations occurring perpendicular (or right angled) to the direction of energy transfer. One common example of a transverse wave occurs during rebound. Many specialty casts make use of transverse waves for presentations by initiating the wave pulse during the casting stroke which propagates down the fly leg for the desired result.

Upstream Wind

A wind that blows upstream.

V Loop

A V-shaped loop is a wedged shape back loop of a line formed behind the rod tip that is more efficient than a D loop in flight. Offers greater load to pull against when timed with a proper anchor.

Vector Haul

A line haul method that manipulates two strands of fly line producing a two-to-one ratio for achieving greater line speed, increased tension, and deeper rod load.

Vector Pull Retrieve

A line retrieval method that manipulates two strands of fly line at all times, as opposed to the traditional retrieval which pulls only one strand. One retrieval of line is equal to approximately twice your body height.

Vector Quantities

A concept used for describing a direction and magnitude that relies heavily on the logic of mathematical relationships for solving the resultant.

Video Capture

To use a camera for tweaking your own casting as well as diagnosing others.


The transfer of the caster’s body weight from one foot to the other during the casting cycle. The shifting of the caster’s center of axis throughout the stroke.

Wave Speed of Line

The slight waveforms in the fly line during travel which is less efficient than straight-line travel. These waves propagate quicker when tension remains high (see also Transverse waves).

Weight-Forward Line

A line taper which comprises its casting weight toward the front of the line. The remainder of this line is often a long section of running line.

Wind Knot

An overhand knot in the line or leader caused by a tailing loop during the casting stroke.

Wrist Abduction

To draw away from the body from an anatomical position.

Wrist Adduction

To draw toward the body from an anatomical position.

Wrist Extension

To draw away from the joint which increases the angle of the joint.

Wrist Flexion

To close the joint which decreases the angle of the joint.

Yank Syndrome

Ripping the fly line back off the water (SPLASH) immediately after the line has settled to the water. This habit is common with new fly fishers.  Avoid this habit as it will spook fish and irritate your guide!